Antiope of Thebes  

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Antiope

In Greek mythology, Antiope was the name of the daughter of the Boeotian river god Asopus, according to Homer; in later poems she is called the daughter of the "nocturnal" king Nycteus of Thebes or, in the Cypria, of Lycurgus, but for Homer her suites is purely Boeotian. Her beauty attracted Zeus, who, assuming the form of a satyr, took her by force. After this she was carried off by Epopeus, who was venerated as a hero in Sicyon; he would not give her up till compelled by her uncle Lycus (brother of Nycteus).

On the way home she gave birth, in the neighbourhood of Eleutherae on Mount Cithaeron, to the twins Amphion and Zethus, of whom Amphion was the son of the god, and Zethus the son of Epopeus. Both were left to be brought up by herdsmen. At Thebes Antiope now suffered from the persecution of Dirce, the wife of Lycus, but at last escaped towards Eleutherae, and there found shelter, unknowingly, in the house where her two sons were living as herdsmen.

Here she was discovered by Dirce, who ordered the two young men to tie her to the horns of a wild bull. They were about to obey, when the old herdsman, who had brought them up, revealed his secret, and they carried out the punishment on Dirce instead, for cruel treatment of Antiope, their mother, who had been treated by Dirce as a slave. Lycus then resigned power to the twins.

For this, it is said, Dionysus, to whose worship Dirce had been devoted, visited Antiope with madness, which caused her to wander restlessly all over Greece (compare the wanderings of Io.) until she was cured, and married by Phocus of Tithorca, on Mount Parnassus, where both were buried in one grave.

Amphion became a great singer and musician after Hermes taught him to play and gave him a golden lyre, Zethus a hunter and herdsman. They built and fortified Thebes, huge blocks of stone forming themselves into walls at the sound of Amphion's lyre. Amphion married Niobe, and killed himself after the loss of his wife and children. Zethus married Aedon, or sometimes Thebe. The brothers were buried in one grave.

At Sicyon, Antiope was important enough that a chryselephantine cult image was created of her and set up in the temple of Aphrodite. Pausanias speaks of it. Only one priestess, an elderly woman, was permitted to enter the cella of the temple, with a young girl chosen each year, to serve as Lutrophoros.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Antiope of Thebes" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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